Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

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Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

Postby brx017 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:31 pm

Hey Gang! Long time no see. Camping season is right around the corner here in NC and I'm no closer to completing my Teardrop build than I was six months ago . I'll try to post an update on my build journal soon, but I'll have to dig the trailer out of the mess first!

The wife is talking about buying a camper of some sort to use until I get ours built, so here we are in the market. I was talking to one of my neighbors a few weeks back, and it somehow came up that he had an old Teardrop tucked in the corner of his garage... and he'd be willing to sell it. Fast forward to today, and I was finally able to go check it out and take some pictures. I thought I would share it here and get a feel for what you guys and gals think about it, and if it's worth jumping on. I'm not going to list his price on here, I thought it would be neat to see what kind of "appraisal" y'all would give it first. I will say, it is comparable to a lot of listings of teardrops on Craigslist here. He is flexible, his words were "I'm not going to give it away, but I'm not trying to put my grandkids through college with it either".

I'll get right to the exciting part first (pictures!) then I'll share what I know about it.

Street side: Image

Driver's side: Image

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Galley: Image

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Interior: Image

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Chassis: Image

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Roof: Image

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Some of the uglier spots: Image

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For the details: Mr. Neighbor said it is a 1969 model, titled in California (hence the CA plate). He has the title, but never had it put in his name. It's supposedly still titled to the original owner. He said the title said Apache on it somewhere. I know Apache was an old pop-up company, so I don't know if this is related to that company or not. Mr. Neighbor was thinking it's a home built that they just named... I don't know, and I haven't seen the title myself. I did not see any hint of badging, numbering, etc.

For dimensions, the shell is 4'6" wide, 8' long and 4' tall. The sleeping area is about 4'3" by 6'1".

In the galley, there's not much storage space, but it is only an 8 footer. There's a pass through into the cabin, and a tiny sink. The few lights it has (or had) are wired for 12v only, but there is a shore power hook-up for a few recepticles (not sure if they are original).

Overall this thing seems really solid, especially considering it's 48 years old. It's not a show piece, but overall it looks generally well taken care of.

Mr. Neighbor says it had a custom canvas cover for it originally, but it just came down to the lower wood trim. When it rained, that trim collected water. Over time that rotted out the trim on the bottom edge, which needs replaced.

For the past 15 years or so that Mr. Neighbor has owned it, it has been garage kept... Except for a one month period when he had to clear the garage. During that time it "monsooned" and he didn't know until after the fact that the cover was leaking on the street side (see stain in pics) and led to some checking on the wall. After that the cover went in the trash and the trailer went back in the garage.

There are other places that you can tell have gotten wet over the years, such as the inside of the galley lid. The galley lid is just a piano hinge with no rubber or anything to seal it. You can tell by the pictures that at one time it had duct tape over the hinge for makeshift waterproofing.

The is no roof vent. The side window slides, the door window is fixed. The galley lid is propped up by two sticks. Five lug 14" wheels with real tires.

Keep in mind, we're looking for something that is at least close to bring usable... Something I can make campable by camping season. As it sits, I wouldn't hesitate to take camping right now with a decent weekend forecast and an easy up tent over the galley. We're used to tent camping, so this is a slight step up, and I think it would meet our basic needs for maybe a couple years.

Im not a huge woody fan (not my first choice for my own design) but I don't mind it. Worst case I can put aluminum siding on it. I like the vintage aspect, and if I were to buy it I think I would try and keep it as original as I could.

So, it comes down to price really. How much would you appraise it at? If you think it matters I'm in Western North Carolina.

Thanks, Brooks

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Re: Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

Postby mikerueve » Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:30 am

I'm not going to even try to appraise it. I'm terrible at that kind of stuff. If you are looking for something you can camp in immediately, it looks like it would do the job. It doesn't look like there is any major rot. When we were first in the market, I'd hoped to find something like that to modify and make my own. I would definitely want to add some sort of vent at the top eventually. Overall, I think if you can get it at a price that would allow you to address some of the obvious issues, it is a great start.
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Re: Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

Postby mary and bob » Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:36 am

My guess is that the original builder used the frame from a Apache pop-up camper, a '69, and then just registered it as such. So calling it a '69 teardrop really doesn't mean much. What I did notice right away is that the door latch is a Bargman L300, no longer in production. Our Uhaul camper has one, and they are generally available on eBay at inflated prices, usually $150 to $300. As to value I have no idea. Definitely a home built, quality unknown, and obviously some issues, but like you say it can easily be made campable. Will get you camping this year if it's what you want and price is right.
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Re: Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

Postby Dale M. » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:02 am

IT has some issues, none the are deal breakers that I can see from pictures, IF it fits your needs and it fits your budget, its probably ok.... There are some things to be fixed and having all DC lighting is not a deal breaker.... Having tent camped for years you realize lighting is just a convenience not a absolute... Anything in basic comfort level can be changed.. Mainly can you and wife lay in it conformable and stretch out full length without head and feet hitting bulkheads remember you will probably be spending 7-8 hours a night in that little box.. or shelves inside. Buy it, take it out for over nigher and see what is ok and what needs to be massaged a bit before extended trip...

IT's go what appears to have good heavy axle and springs (with greaseable shackles) and tires and wheels... Cabin looks reasonable well built... Small galley is not a show stopper, take along folding table for extra space and carry food items in tote in TV....

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Re: Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

Postby Tomterrific » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:37 am

You cannot keep that tear outside. Just looking at the construction I see multiple leak points. It's going to need a roof redesign, a full skin of sorts not individual panels. It looks potentually overly heavy to me but I am a lightweight builder. Pretty but not well designed for rain.

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Re: Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

Postby mary and bob » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:52 am

If Brooks can keep it covered at all times it should work. Our teardrop is kept inside at home and under a canopy when camping. We mainly need the shade when camping being ours is all aluminum with no insulation or interior. We wanted to keep it as original as possible.
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Re: Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

Postby brx017 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:43 am

Thanks for the input so far folks, keep it coming! I can’t believe none of you have put a price tag on it yet. Do you not like Wheel of Fortune!? :D I’ll give you our perspective on it. I asked my wife at what price she would feel comfortable buying it in it’s current state, and she said $2500. I sort of had $2800 in my mind, maybe $3000 max but I think that might be pushing it. But what do I know. That’s still lower than what he originally told me he wanted for it (before I saw it). I asked him if he was dead set on a price and he said no, we’d talk money if I was interested.

I agree that it is something basically camping-ready, at least for the overnighters or 2-nighters we’re most prone to doing. With that being said, we’re not going to head out if its 90% chance of rain so going over it with a tube of caulk I think I’d be comfortable using it as-is. As for long term, I think the bones are good, but I agree it should probably just be reskinned in aluminum all over and the galley rehinged.

I would absolutely have to be garage kept in its current condition, which would make things cramped for me but is not a deal breaker. Our two-car garage is used exclusively as my workshop (and junk storage… which I hope to address in the coming weeks). I could dedicate a bay for this camper, but it would mean I would have to roll it out when I wanted to work on anything big. It could give me the momentum to rearrange and clean my shop like I’ve wanted to for a year, which wouldn’t be a bad thing.

The more I look at it, I think you’re right on the Apache pop-up frame idea. It’s a beefy frame, heavier than this thing needs. And judging by the paneling, flooring, door etc. I think it was likely converted to a teardrop sometime in the 70s. For some reason, that makes it lose some of it’s luster for me, and would make me less prone to keeping it “original”. That could be a blessing or a curse. I’m kind of looking for something that I don’t need to devote a lot of time to, so I could just keep on trucking on my current teardrop build (and house remodel). But, I wouldn’t feel bad modifying it to better suit us, so that we might get more use out of it.

Good to know on the door latch, that might help date the true vintage of the trailer too. He does have the key for it too, I saw it in a cubby in the galley. Speaking of the galley, I don’t know if any of you noticed but there is no latch for it. It has a hole on each corner to run a carriage bolt through to cinch it down for travelling and that’s it.

As to meeting our needs, I think it would cover our basic needs for right now. One of the exciting things that has happened over that past 6 months that has put my build to a halt is my wife fell and hurt her back and isn’t really making any progress recuperating. If we don’t get some kind of camper with a real mattress she’s not going to be able to camp this year. As size goes, the air mattress he has in it now is the same size as what we use in our tent currently. We would only pull it with my Honda Pilot, so lack of storage isn’t great but that not a deal breaker either.

Another fun thing that has happened is we unexpectedly “had” a baby in August. We’re foster parents, and we got a call out of the blue one day if we wanted a newborn. :shock: We took her in, and now 7 months later it looks like we’re going to get to adopt her (eventually). So I will need to make a sleeping arrangement for her as well… perhaps a crib mattress laid on the galley countertop, since it has the pass-through? Our 5 year old daughter could sleep with us, or in a side tent, or I can sleep in the hammock as I do half the time anyway.

We’ve got all the “stuff” needed to make this setup campable already, aside from a deep cycle battery for the 12V system. Tarps, canopies, folding tables, chairs, all that. My biggest tarp is a Kelty 20’x20’, it could cover the whole trailer tongue and all with room to spare.

So I guess like most everything in life, it all boils down on how much to spend. Is $2500-$3000 crazy for this thing? :thinking: I know I could get a pop-up or maybe another small teardrop or something else for that kind of money, but I don’t think I want to go that route. Im not looking for something big with a lot of “moving parts” to have to maintain.

Thanks, Brooks
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Re: Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

Postby tony.latham » Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:31 am

Brooks:

You did drop off the radar... :shock: But you're forgiven. Especially with this adoption "thing" ––Exposes you're humanity. :applause:

My reaction to this trailer is that with all it's problems, the price is (grossly) too high. Here's a nationwide list of a few current teardrops for comparison:
http://www.camperfinds.com/teardrop-cam ... s-for-sale

Somebody south of you in SC has new ones starting at $2500 that you may want to look at and here's their webpage:
http://www.honeybadgercampers.com/

Tony
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Re: Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

Postby Vedette » Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:35 am

Hi Brooks
Teardrop Camping is a blast.
We have been thru all aspects of camping over the past 50+ years.......everything from a pup tent to a motorhome.
And Teardrop Camping along with Teardrop People is by far head and shoulders above anything we have ever done. :thumbsup:
Now that being said; most "Teardrop Campers" we have met to date (not all) fall into two demographics :thinking:
Under 35 couples with no kids, Or over 50 single or retired couples.
Teardrop Camping will be fun for you, but I see you and your 5 year old sleeping in a side tent or 2 man tent. While your wife and new baby sleep in the the Teardrop. This is not a bad thing as you will be Camping!!! :applause:
And the difference between motorhome or standee camping, is that you are "Camping" spending most of your day enjoying the great outdoors, no matter what the weather. ;) The Teardrop is just a sleeping compartment with amore convenient food preparation area requiring less setup.
Not a place to hide out from other people or the fresh air you went in search of on your camping trip.
So............if you have pictured that as what you would like to be doing with your family! :thinking: I would say jump on this opportunity, spend the $2500.00 and get out there this season.
If it doesn't work for you....sell it!
If you love it, use it as a learning curve for you current build and see it as a stepping stone.
My 2 cents worth???? :wine:
Good Roads
Brian & Sandi
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viewtopic.php?f=50&t=50912
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Re: Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

Postby mary and bob » Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:46 am

I personally would not pay more than $1500 for it, but have to admit we have become spoiled with a couple slightly larger campers. The vintage teardrop we own was bought on a whim ('46 Moderistic). We restored it and used it some along with the old Starcraft pop-up we already had. Then wife stumbled on a '84 Uhaul CT13 fiberglass camper (10 foot body) that needed some work. Fixed it up and spent two winters in it in the south as snowbirds. Then some friends decided to sell their 17' Casita fiberglass camper, which had a large dinette / permanent bed, side dinette which can be another small bed, and a bathroom, so we bought it. Now down to 3 campers as the pop-up went to our son. Teardrop gets used at vintage rallies, as does the Uhaul. Casita is the snowbird camper. In your situation; wife with bad back (me too), two kids, and a Honda Pilot tow vehicle, I would be looking for a Scamp 13 or 16 or a nice used pop-up. Finish your teardrop when time permits and use it as a occasional fun camper. I admire you for taking in a foster child, sounds like a winning situation for her. As for the Bargman latch, they were frequently used on older motorhomes, 70's and 80's, and that sorta looks like a cut down older camper door on that teardrop.
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Re: Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

Postby brx017 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:14 pm

Hey Tony, Yeah sorry about that... It's been the craziest 6 months of my life! My wife Natalie's father was in the hospital 2 months, then died. During that time Natalie fell at work and hurt her back pretty bad, and we got a newborn overnight. Now we're having to do all the executor of the estate stuff, and most of the junk in his house ended up in my garage and on top of the Teardrop!?

Nat and I each had a Great Aunt to die, Nat's Grandmother passed away, one of my closest friends at work for the past 10 years committed suicide, the brother of one of my close childhood friends died (who is a coworker of Natalie also). The latest to pass just two week's ago was Nat's Step-grandmother (who used to live with her Father before he died). Now Nat's step-dad is having heart trouble.

Needless to say, we are tired of funerals and ready for some weekend camping to be a pleasant distraction!

I do think you are right on the price. The more I think on it today, the less I think it's worth. The instant gratification bug was biting me last night. Not to say I'll pass on it, but I'm going to have to get it at a more reasonable price.

I've seen those honey badgers on Craigslist. Natalie keeps an eye out on there for deals to pop up.

Brian&Sandi, I love camping in any form. I grew up in Scouts and even got my Eagle. I enjoy backpacking and roughing it, so to me it's all about being outside, cooking outside, etc. Nat loves camping too, as long as there's an air mattress involved, and she doesn't have to carry anything. Like you said, teardrops don't seem to be the most convenient thing for a family of four but we've never been a family that does things the normal way. My wife would probably prefer sleeping in the Teardrop with the girls over me and my snoring! My 5 year old saw some camping cot bunkbeds on YouTube and she's determined that's what her and the baby need! So if it's "cool" to her, she won't mind sleeping in a side tent either. She begs me to camp out with her in the front yard with me in my 1 man backpacking tent.

All that being said, if I can get him down on the price, maybe it'll be worth jumping into for a season or two.

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Re: Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

Postby working on it » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:18 pm

  • Quick fixes, if you can get it cheap and use it soon. If the tires are as old as the trailer build (the use of '60-'70s ET Diamond Spoke unilug wheels points to that), replace them first. Put a rubber (or whatever rain-proof durable material you have) cover over the hatch-roof interface (I used old conveyor belting-I found it was porous-and leaked, until I sealed the pores with spray-on bedliner). Here's a link with hatch-gap coverage ideas: http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=57503.
  • Speaking of bed-liner, unless you really like the exposed wood and aluminum, you can degrease and rough-up all exterior surfaces and use either spray-on or roll-on bedliner to seal any leaking spots, cover all the wood-checking, and give it a new look. I've read many threads on its' durability and waterproof nature. Lots of off-roaders cover everything possible with it. If/when my multi-coated polyurethane & enamel painted trailer needs touching up, I'm going to overcoat it with Durabak, Raptor, or Monstaliner. Lots of color/surface texture choices among them.
  • The drop axle looks low, but properly sized, and not cambered, so if you need to gain ground clearance, you can flip it later. If it's been sitting all those years, check and re-grease the wheel bearings! Make sure the wiring is intact, and check for mouse-nibbled spots (they love to chew wire). Put silicone rubber-preservative on old door and window seals (carefully, not getting any on surfaces you will want to paint or use bedliner on).
  • Good luck!; if you get it, you may find that you can fix it up and pass it on to another, gaining some ideas to add to your build, along the way.
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
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  • 148599125895148106
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Re: Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

Postby brx017 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:35 pm

Thanks Mary (or is it Bob?). We have have friends with a little Shasta they restored last year. I tried to get them to sell it to me, as they just bought a 31-foot tagalong with a slide out, but they're still in love with the Shasta and they're gonna hang on to it to use on the weekends. My uncle has a big pop-up he wants to get rid of, but I don't know if I want the hassle.

If I thought he would come down to $1500 I would probably snatch it up, but I think he's got more sentimental value in it than that... Although he only used it a few years before he bought a T@B... But he's held on to it all this time for some reason.

I also think you're right on the door being cut down.

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Re: Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

Postby ae6black » Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:05 pm

If you could get it for a decent price or at least plan on getting your investment out of it when you wanted to sell it this camper would give you a chance to see what you want in your own build. A lot of the time we spend dreaming about what we want in a build only turns to a "Why did I want that" after we used the TD for a while. Frame looked nice and sturdy which is a step up from a HF trailer that you would have to put together from scratch.

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Re: Should I buy this 1969 Teardrop? What's it worth to you?

Postby brx017 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:10 pm

Good idea on the bed liner!

The tires are not REALLY OLD but I would replace them. I worked at a garage / tire shop about 8 years ago, and they are a model of a Chinese brand sold back then. So they hold air but I wouldn't trust them.

Art, I had the same thought that it might help us figure out what we want.

I doubt we would keep it more than a few years, so I don't want to spend too much more than I could resale it for. Paying a premium isn't too bad if it's spread out over a decade.

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